Student Receives Top Honor for Study of Women's Identity in Jordan

April 19, 2011 Sarah Schwartz

International Studies major Brittany Witcher ’12 earned accolades for her research on a subject never before attempted in the history of Jordan or of the Middle East. Her study investigates Jordanian Christian women between the ages of 18 and 24 and whether their identity is portrayed through their clothing.

A culmination of intensive observation and several surveys and interviews, Witcher’s paper, “Identity and Fashion: A Look at Jordanian Christian Women and How Their Identity is Portrayed Through Their Clothing,” pinpoints current fashion trends in Jordan and reveals the underlying values of both Muslim and Christian Jordanian women and their distinct differences. Nearly four years ago, Witcher wrote her first essay for Arcadia in the form of an entrance composition detailing her goals to study abroad. Her response secured her a scholarship and an opportunity to pursue her dream of studying in Jordan.

Recently Witcher has returned from a semester in Amman, Jordan. Her independent study project has earned a top grade and was selected to be posted on the School for International Training's website, an honor awarded to the top two projects of the entire program for that semester.

The moment she set foot on Jordan soil, Witcher was immersed in Arabic language, culture and customs. And she was well prepared to conduct the professional ethnographic research that her project required as she undertook a rigorous schedule that included three hours a day of studying the Arabic language, intensive research courses and many months touring the region and assimilating to life in Jordan.

“Not only did I get the training I needed to understand Arabic while living among locals, but I also fulfilled my childhood dream of going to Jordan,” she says.

Her outstanding performance on the independent study project earned her the honor of becoming a primary alum contact for future students. Moreover, her paper was electronically published. Nicole McDermott ’11 received the same honor for her study on the Hijaab in Amman in Spring 2010.

“What makes me most proud is seeing Arcadia's name twice in the School for International Training’s archives for this year,” she says. “We have been able to prove that our ability to process the world around us into professional, journal-worthy work only gives credit to the quality of education we are getting with the International Studies program at Arcadia. I know that I chose the right school.”

View both Witcher’s and McDermott’s independent study projects at digitalcollections.sit.edu/jor.

international studiescollege of arts and scienceshistorical and political studies